Chicken Tortilla Soup (Instant Pot or Slow Cooker)

Hi all! How are you? I hope well. Busy as I am? Phew…it never stops. Work has been crazy, and now we are almost at the holiday season. Today I will share a favorite soup, chicken tortilla soup in the Instant Pot (but you can make in the slow cooker too) and also a quick catch up.

Fall has just flown. High school girl has been busy applying to colleges and yes, it affects parents too. Long gone are the days when I crammed 6 applications into Christmas break. The tours start as early as sophomore year and beyond. You can catch our tour of a few southern colleges from last summer. We had a few last minute ones too but closer to home. The good news is that she is into one school (IU) as it has rolling admissions.

With my eyes on Thanksgiving, I am already planning my menu and will likely cook much of last year’s menu (which was delicious….that stuffing is the best I promise) as well as trying at least one or two new recipes. This recipe for a fall, butternut, greens salad caught my eye yesterday from Smitten Kitchen (love her!). I am trying it tonight at home so will share the feedback if it is as good as it sounds. I plan to use dried cranberries instead of the pomegranate.

It is also countdown to Christmas. I have learned this is a great time of year to organize. I went through each closet and identified what to give away. Cleaning out the fridge and pantry are next as I prepare for holiday cooking. Now is the time to figure out if you have enough baking supplies and other ingredients. Trust me…am a pro at this point!

With all that is going on, something easy and tasty for dinner and lunch is a must. I adore soup especially in the fall and winter. Lentil and bean are two favorites, but I found myself craving something with a bit more heat. This chicken tortilla soup fits the bill perfectly. I think you could easily sub in chicken breasts or make it vegetarian and add another can of beans for some extra protein and staying power. You can also vary the spice too. By accident, when fiddling with my recipe, I added an entire can of chilies in adobo (fortunately I realized it and was able to remove all but two!). The toppings are optional (but are they really?). A squeeze of lime, some grated cheese, a dollop of sour cream and chopped cilantro taste so fresh and flavorful. If you want to lighten up, replace sour cream with plain Greek yogurt.

Without further ado, here is the recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup. Enjoy!

Chicken Tortilla Soup (Either Instant Pot or Slow Cooker)

A flavorful, healthy, budget-friendly soup that is perfect for supper or lunch.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican
Keyword Beans, budget friendly, Soup, Supper
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Cost $7


  • Instant Pot
  • Slow cooker


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil I use avocado
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion diced
  • 2 medium jalapeno seeded membranes removed, and diced
  • 1 red or green bell pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic minced about 2 teaspoons
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt plus additional to taste
  • 1 pound of boneless skinless chicken thighs or chicken breasts (about 2 breasts if you are using breasts)
  • 1 28- ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo chopped NOTE: I purchase these in a can and save the rest for another use – they freeze well. DO NOT use the whole can in this recipe as the soup will be too hot
  • 1 15- ounce can pinto beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 can of Mexican style corn
  • 4 cups chicken stock or broth
  • Corn tortilla strips or corn tortillas or tortilla chips. I also like the tortilla strips you buy as salad toppings.
  • Shredded cheddar or Mexican style cheese
  • Diced avocado
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Lime add a slice on the side to squeeze over
  • Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • Optional: Trader Joe’s Chili Lime seasoning delicious on top if you can find it!


  • Turn Instant pot to saute, or if using your slow cooker heat a pan on the stove and heat on medium heat. Once hot, add the onion, jalapeno and bell pepper. Cook until the vegetables are softened, about 6 minutes or so. Stir in the garlic, cumin and chili powder and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Transfer mixture from the skillet to the bottom of a 6-quart or larger slow cooker or if using Instant pot, turn off saute function.
  • Arrange the chicken breasts on top of the mixture. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, chilies in adobo and salt. Stir gently.
  • Turn Instant Pot to slow cooking function. Cook on LOW for 5 to 6 hours, until the chicken is falling apart tender. Dice or shred the chicken, then return it to the slow cooker. Add the canned pinto beans and Mexican corn. Let cook on low for 20 more minutes to allow the flavors to combine and everything to heat.
  • Taste and add salt or seasonings as needed. If the soup is thicker than you would like, add in the remaining 1 cup chicken broth until it reaches your desired consistency. Enjoy!

Classic Clam Chowder + Weekend Wrap Up

Hi there. Summer has been so busy as we are at the shore every weekend, and the last two weekends we have hosted friends which has been so much fun. I finally had a chance to read a bit on Sunday at the beach and fell promptly asleep! As much as I love entertaining it can be tiring. So, this post is a bit of a catch up post. I will be sharing my recipe for classic clam chowder or as our clams come from right off of Cockenoe Island I am officially calling the clam chowder recipe, Cockenoe Clam Chowder! I will get to that in a bit.

What is immediately on my radar is the fourth of July. We will host friends this Sunday for a BBQ and to watch the fireworks from the shore. I am thinking of making the best Mediterranean pasta salad to go with Mr. SB’s amazing ribs. I am searching for a good bar recipe that will withstand the heat and of course we will have s’mores as we always do. We toast the marshmallows on the fire pit. It should be a great weekend to celebrate! I will try to share next week (although I will be college touring again so it may be after that…).

So to get back to the clam chowder, Mr. SB discovered how to go clamming/oystering last summer. He even received his shell fishing license and bought all of the equipment (well Santa actually brought some of it). Of course he had to go clamming as soon as possible. We had so many oysters and clams (all delicious and so, so fresh) that I had about 8 cups extra. The clams you find on the East Coast can range from the softer shell steamers to what we call in RI, quahogs, which have a very hard shell and are generally quite meaty. They are perfect for chowder (I also love to steam them and dip into butter). So I used a basic soup recipe and added cream and of course the classic white pepper. I recommend buying white pepper if you do not have it as it makes a difference. Below is the recipe. Enjoy!

Cockenoe (Classic) Clam Chowder

Taste the ocean in this delectable and traditional New England clam chowder. Easy to make and freeze and the perfect use for any extra clams.
Course Appetizer, Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword Clam Chowder, Cockenoe, New England Clam Chowder
Prep Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings


  • 7 pounds clams scrubbed and rinsed. I steam them first (7 cups includes the shells – there will be less once shells are removed)
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 bacon strips
  • 1 medium-size Spanish onion diced small
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 large red or yellow potatoes cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup heavy or light cream
  • 1 tsp white pepper (or to taste)


  • In a large soup pot over high heat, add clams to water. Bring to a boil and cook just until clams open, about 10 minutes. Remove clams from broth and set aside. (Discard any clams that don't open.) Strain broth through a sieve lined with a coffee filter and set aside. Picture of my steamed clams below.
    Cockenoe Steamed Clams
  • Clean your soup pot; then, over medium-high heat, sauté bacon until it’s browned and fat is rendered. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon to a paper towel (you won’t use the bacon so use for something else). Add diced onion to pot and sauté until translucent.
  • Stir in flour and cook 1 minute, being careful not to brown. Whisk in reserved clam broth. Add potatoes and thyme, and simmer 10 minutes.
  • Remove clams from shells, reserving liquid, and chop roughly. Strain liquid; then add clams and liquid to pot. Stir in parsley and cream; cook just long enough to heat clams through, about 3 minutes.
    New England Clam Chowder Mixture
  • We love this chowder with fresh bread and a green salad.


Often we steam our clams ahead of time as after clamming we want to cook them right away.  This preparation also reduces the work time when you are making the chowder.  You could also pre cut your onion and potatoes so that the chowder comes together very quickly.  

Lentil Vegetable Soup

Hi there! So, yes it is June and at this point I would not expect to be sharing a post about lentil vegetable soup. However, with last weekend at 45 degrees and raining until late Sunday afternoon…I made a big pot of this soup, and it was delicious. It freezes beautifully and is super economical as it only uses a small amount of bacon. You can also easily make the soup vegan by omitting the bacon and using vegetable stock. I would also up the garlic and other spices in the vegan version to add some flavor. Lentils are very popular in France, and it is said that eating them on the first of the month brings luck. Now, to share a bit of info on nutrition.

Nutrition in lentil vegetable soup

Lentils are considered a pulse (funny word right?) and are very nutritious. They are full of protein, rich in nutrients and are good for digestion, heart health and more. According to Dr. Axe, “Lentils are considered a top “functional food” due to their high nutritive value, polyphenols, minerals, fiber and other bioactive compounds. While they’re known for providing protein and fiber, their polyphenol content is becoming the focus of ongoing research, since polyphenols are know play an important role in the prevention of degenerative diseases.”

While nutritious, I also find them delicious. Lentils have a subtle nutty flavor that pairs well with all kinds of vegetables. Lentils are also great room temperature, cold or hot as is the case with this soup. I love to make a batch and have them handy to add to salads and more. But right now, this soup fits the bill…enjoy!

Easy Lentil Vegetable Soup

Easy Lentil Vegetable Soup

Easy lentil vegetable soup is chock full of nutrition and taste.
Print Pin
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Soup
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 38 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Cost: $4


  • 4 slices bacon or omit if making vegetarian
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 3 medium carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1 to 2 stalks of celery chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 – 14 oz can diced tomatoes I like the basil, garlic version for even more flavor
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 cup lentils I use organic, green but you can use brown or red too
  • 1 teaspoon salt Or to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 cups chicken broth or use vegetable broth if making vegetarian
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • Dried herbs de Provence or Italian blend to taste


  • Brown the bacon in a large soup pot or dutch oven. Set aside and crumble. Leave bacon drippings in the pot. If making vegetarian, heat vegetable oil until hot.
  • Add onions, celery and carrots to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add garlic, then stir in tomatoes and thyme. Cook for 30 seconds.
  • Stir in lentils, salt, and pepper; cover, reduce heat to medium-low. Cook 8-10 minutes.
  • Uncover, increase heat to high, add wine, and bring to simmer. Add chicken or vegetable broth and water, bring to boil, cover partially, and reduce heat to low. Add your dried herbs de Provence (or other dried blend).
  • Simmer for 20-30 minutes, until vegetables and lentils are softened.
  • Stir in vinegar, bacon if you are using it.
  • Top with some grated cheese and serve with some fresh bread for a delicious meal.

Instant Pot (no soak) White Bean and Ham soup

Hi there from snowy CT! We have about three feet of snow on the ground and it is still snowing…dreaming of summer days around here. Last weekend we headed up to NH to ski at Gunstock Mountain Resort which has the most lovely views of Lake Winnipisaukee. Yours truly was taken out a by a teen skiing out of control. Fortunately just a few bumps and bruises…I was worried about my knee but it seems fine a few days later (phew). Sunday, I decided not to ski (but still enjoyed my favorite apres ski recipe for buffalo dip) and instead made this perfect, easy, no-soaking the beans instant pot ham and bean soup. Trust me on this one – it comes out perfectly every time and not having to soak the beans saves time and allows this soup to be a last minute dish. So here is to snowy days and hot soup.

Tips to making no soak instant pot white bean and ham soup

I recommend Northern white beans for this recipe. You can use Cannellini or other white beans too but Northern beans really hold up well to pressure cooking. Also, this soup is very versatile. With my French husband, I tend to use a generous tablespoon of herbs de Provence. If you prefer though you could Italian seasoning or any mix of herbs that you like. I also recommend chopping the onion, celery and carrot roughly (mirepoix) for some texture against the creaminess of the beans. Lastly, if you want a vegetarian option, skip the ham, add more salt to taste and use vegetable broth instead of water. Serve the soup with some crusty bread and a salad and your winter day will be that much warmer!

Instant pot no soak white bean and ham soup

Super easy and relatively fast recipe as there is no need to soak the beans. Tender white beans in a rich stock and plenty of vegetables and salty bits of ham make a delicious and economical soup. Freezes well and heats up too for lunch or supper now or when you need it.
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American, French
Keyword Beans, Instant Pot, No soak beans, Soup
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Servings 8
Cost 5


  • Instant Pot


  • 1 pound dried Great Northern White Beans picked over and rinsed. Cannellini beans would work here too but reduce the cooking time by five minutes.
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil olive or I like avocado oil
  • 1 white or yellow onion diced
  • 3 stalks of celery roughly chopped
  • 3 medium carrots peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of herbs de Provence or another seasoning mix you like such as Italian seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ pound of ham or a ham hock bone (with some meat on it). If going for the vegetarian option then leave out the ham.
  • 4 cups of chicken stock or vegetable and 4 cups of water (if using a very meaty ham bone you may want 2 cups of stock and 6 cups of water as the ham will be salty).


  • Turn Instant Pot on sauté setting and heat olive oil in the insert.
  • Add onion, celery and carrots and sauté until starting to soften, a few minutes (keep an eye on it as they can burn if you are not careful…stir occasionally).
  • Add garlic, stir a few seconds until you can smell the garlic.
  • Then add herbs and bay leaf, stir and turn off the sauté function.
  • Add the dried beans to the pot along with the ham shanks.
  • Pour in the stock and water and combine gently.
  • Close lid and seal pressure cooker.
  • Cook on high pressure and set timer for 35 minutes. It will take about 25 minutes to reach pressure and then the timer will start. When finished cooking, let pressure naturally release for 20 minutes.
  • Manually release any remaining pressure, carefully open pot (only after all pressure is released).
  • If using a ham bone or shank, then remove ham shanks to cutting board and shred/cut meat into bite-sized pieces. Add back to soup and season with kosher salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Serve with a salad and some crusty bread for a delicious lunch or supper.